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Birding Report

Presqu'ile Provincial Park has been overrun for the past few days with hordes of sparrows, as well as good numbers of other species that are normal in early October. The offshore waters are proving to be worth scanning with a scope.

About 50 GREEN-WINGED TEAL can be seen in the marsh from the roadside, now that the emergent vegetation is dying and dropping into the water.

A flock of close to a dozen SURF SCOTERS flew in and landed in Popham Bay on October 5, the first of the season, and another individual flew past the lighthouse today. WHITE-WINGED SCOTERS are appearing in two's and three's. The first LONG-TAILED DUCK of the season appeared on October 5. Two RED-THROATED LOONS were seen at the lighthouse today.

There were also RED-NECKED GREBES both there and off Gull Island.

HORNED GREBES are now the most numerous of that family.

An OSPREY flew over the lighthouse on October 1. BALD EAGLES were seen on October 1 and 4. A NORTHERN GOSHAWK was seen on October 7. Two MERLINS were seen today, and a PEREGRINE FALCON on October 3. Fall sightings of SANDHILL CRANES are rare at Presqu'ile, but this is the time of year to look for them. Among the twelve species of shorebirds in the Park in the past week, the highlight was a pair of HUDSONIAN GODWITS on October 3. The remaining shorebirds are almost all DUNLINS and BLACK-BELLIED PLOVERS. However, BAIRD'S and WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPERS were both easy to see at Owen Point today. Surprisingly, no owls were reported this week, but SHORT-EARED and NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS are likely present but awaiting discovery by birders or, in the case of the latter, by chickadees.

A late RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRD was found on October 4. RED-BELLIED WOODPECKERS are visiting 83 Bayshore Road daily. Up to three COMMON RAVENS have been seen at a time, a sight that was unheard of at Presqu'ile until this year. Five HORNED LARKS were on Gull Island today. The TUFTED TITMOUSE that spent the winter at Presqu'ile a few years ago first showed up on October 9, which is once again raising hopes that another will soon appear. The CAROLINA WREN that spent last winter at Presqu'ile is still showing no signs of leaving and is being well fed. Single BLUE-GRAY GNATCATCHERS were seen on October 3 and 6.

A WOOD THRUSH was seen on October 1 among the numerous HERMIT THRUSHES that were ubiquitous this week. ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS were among the eight species of warblers still present this week and were seen on four different days. A late SCARLET TANAGER was found on October 6. EASTERN TOWHEES were seen at three different Bayshore Road properties where feeders were in use. A LINCOLN'S SPARROW was among the hundreds of WHITE-THROATED and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROWS in the Park. At least one and perhaps a dozen RUSTY BLACKBIRDS were around the lighthouse this morning. PURPLE FINCHES have increased in number this week, visiting at least four different feeders. PINE SISKINS showed up at two feeders.

To reach Presqu'ile Provincial Park, follow the signs from Brighton.

Locations within the Park are shown on a map at the back of a tabloid that is available at the Park gate. Visitors to Gull Island not using a boat should be prepared to wade through shin-deep water in which there is often a swift current and a substrate that is somewhat uneven and slippery. It should also be noted that, because duck hunting is given priority on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, Gull Island, High Bluff Island, Owen Point, and part of the calf pasture are not available for bird-watching on those days. Birders are encouraged to record their observations on the bird sightings board provided near the campground office by The Friends of Presqu'ile Park and to fill out a rare bird report for species not listed there.

Questions and comments about bird sightings at Presqu'ile may be directed to: FHELLEINER@TRENTU.CA.

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Fred Helleiner